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Dedicating the value of a session after practice

At the end of a meditative session, it's important to dedicate its value to the welfare of all sentient beings.

Meditation — motivation

As you bring your session to a close, first consider individual people: "Whatever value there was in the meditation done here, may it be for the benefit of this person, that person . . ."

Imagine the people and the animals around you. Relating the activity to so many beings is a powerful way of increasing the force of what was a small virtuous activity. It's magically effective to picture that you did something for the people and animals you were contemplating as wanting happiness and not wanting suffering. As with adjusting the motivation at the beginning of the session, gradually expand the field to include larger groups of individuals and communities.

Start with beings who are nearby. When I meditate in a group, I dedicate the value I got out of the session—that intangible transformative force—to the persons in that group: "May it go to help each one of you." And then I extend it to include some of the beings around us. Don't let the field of dedication be vague, like "everyone," because then it disappears from the mind. Dedicate it to the meditators around you, and make sure to include the individual beings who were part of your reflections during the session.

Dedicating the value is like having a thousand dollars and giving a thousand dollars to each of the many persons you call to mind. And in terms of your own happiness, the session is worth much more than money. What is it that brings us good luck? What has brought us into this kind of lifetime? To give that intangible but powerful force to other people is to give the best thing you can give.

When you mentally dedicate the value of a session to, say, ten people, it is magnified ten times. So though you give it away, you benefit. Such generosity has an effect on how you act with other people. But more importantly, on a nonmaterial level, it benefits others directly. Meditation can be very social practice. Dedication at the end of practice insures that its impact will not be lost.